French leather goods maker Louis Vuitton is Luxury Daily’s 2014 Luxury Marketer of the Year for its seamless transition to new creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere’s vision.
Louis Vuitton won over first runner’s-up Hermès and second runner’s-up Dior for keeping a consistent visibility across channels. Throughout this year, all three brands showed a strong ability to keep their presence known through efforts spanning print and online, maintaining key placement in important fashion publications and speaking directly to their audience through social media.
The Luxury Marketer of the Year award was decided based on luxury marketing efforts with impeccable strategy, tactics, creative, executive and results. All candidates selected by the Luxury Daily editorial team and from reader nominations had to have appeared in Luxury Daily coverage this year. Judging was based purely on merit.
This was the first full year with new creative director Nicolas Ghesquière at the helm. The designer was appointed in November 2013 to succeed Marc Jacobs (see story).
Compared to the spectacle Louis Vuitton runway shows became known for under the creative direction of Marc Jacobs, the label’s fall/winter 2014 fashion show, the first by Mr. Ghesquière, showed a focus on simplicity.
The set was much quieter, allowing the clothing to be the focus, which also showed a new direction for the label. Because Mr. Ghesquière is only the second designer to interpret the Louis Vuitton brand into apparel, he will help shape the aesthetic of the house’s ready-to-wear (see story).
Louis Vuitton’s print campaigns also took a simplified approach under the new direction that still felt on-brand.
At the beginning of the year, Louis Vuitton’s ad efforts still reflected Mr. Jacob’s aesthetic. First came a handbag campaign paying homage to his muses, including Sofia Coppola and Catherine Deneuve (see story).
This was followed by a “Spirit of Travel” campaign, which placed models on a safari feeding giraffes or strolling alongside leopards (see story).
Louis Vuitton reinterpreted the house’s codes and visual imagery under the direction of Nicolas Ghesquirère for his first advertisement campaign as creative director, titled “Series 1.”
Mr. Ghesquière recruited three iconic photographers to interpret his designs from the fall/winter 2014 collection. The campaign features the work of Annie Leibovitz, Juergen Teller and Bruce Weber, all of whom chose their own model and scenario (see story).
For Mr. Ghesquière’s first collection, Louis Vuitton secured retail placement to promote the line. Louis Vuitton inhabited all 16 windows of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship New York store starting Aug. 29 for the extent of New York Fashion Week.
The windows showcased pieces from the new creative director’s first runway show, according to The New York Times. Never before had Louis Vuitton taken over an American retailer’s facade on this scale, which helped consumers embrace the brand’s aesthetic transition (see story).
Louis Vuitton’s ads ran across fashion publications worldwide, as well as in display ads online. In addition to placement within the book, Louis Vuitton took the coveted back cover position in a number of publications throughout the year, including W’s November gift-themed issue.
Louis Vuitton has also entered the publishing game itself. Starting in October Louis Vuitton began publishing “The Book,” a biannual, in-house glossy magazine. The branded print publication will be translated into 11 languages and mailed only to select Louis Vuitton clients (see story).
Examining the codes of the house from a different perspective was a theme for Louis Vuitton this year. In celebration of its heritage, Louis Vuitton brought in six “Iconoclasts” to reinterpret its monogram. As Louis Vuitton continues its transition to a new creative director, looking back at its heritage helped show the brand’s continuity and timelessness.
For this project, Louis Vuitton chose shoe designer Christian Louboutin, photographer Cindy Sherman, architect Frank Gehry, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, industrial designer Marc Newson and fashion designer of Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo (see story).
Louis Vuitton’s multichannel campaign for the collection included whimsical videos depicting each creative’s vision (see story).
The brand also paid homage to its heritage as a maker of steamer trunks by creating a leather case for the FIFA World Cup trophy that was presented to the winners of the international football matches in Brazil, putting the brand on the world stage (see story).
This year, Louis Vuitton also lent support to LVMH’s newly opened Fondation Louis Vuitton, holding its spring/summer 2015 runway show in the space.
The museum, opened to the public Oct. 27, was both the backdrop and the focus of the beginning of the show, in which large holograms of a mix of men and women spoke with a single monotonous voice about the “place that doesn’t exist for now,” “a ship that serves as an incubator and ignites our fellow creative minds.” This served to further connect the eponymous label with the art project conceived by LVMH (see story).
Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH reported a 4 percent growth in revenue, rising to $26 billion for the first nine months of the year.
Louis Vuitton was ranked among the top 100 global brands, according to Interbrand’s 15th annual Best Global Brands 2014 report (see story). Contrary to the notion that big name fashion labels are losing their luster among Chinese consumers, a study from ContactLab finds that Louis Vuitton is at the top of the list for brand awareness (see story).
According to a report from Millward Brown,Louis Vuitton had the highest ranking within the luxury category, with a brand value of $25.873 billion. This was a 14 percent growth from the previous year (see story).
First runner’s-up: Hermès
Hermès is one of the most prolific digital marketers among luxury brands, using both social media, digital video and mobile applications to communicate its uniquely whimsical perspective.
For instance, Hermès is giving consumers an interactive way to browse its tie selection with a new mobile application that aims to provide a respite from work or commutes.
Hermès’ Tie Break includes arcade games, GIFs, cartoons and animated tie designs, as well as tie tying tutorials and a gallery of autumn/winter 2014 tie patterns (see story).
Whether depicting its scarves as superheroes saving the day (see story), personifying its iconic orange boxes (see story) or turning frogs into handbag princes (see story), the brand finds imaginative ways to display its products.
Observatory of Orange Boxes playlist
In addition to social videos, in 2014, Hermès’ print campaigns stood out from the pack with two different Metamorphosis campaigns. For spring/summer, the ads featured models in its ready-to-wear and accessory pieces set within a thick jungle of palm fronds and large leaves (see story). Fall/winter saw an equestrian theme, with models and horses with matching manes standing in a foggy, craggy hinterland, and the horses have a magical quality to them due to digital retouching (see story).
The brand also paid tribute to its equestrian heritage through a three-day show jumping event, the Saut Hermès, held at Paris’ Grand Palais in March (see story).
Hermès is protective of its brand image, and is very selective in its distribution.
The label has managed to keep its presence on Amazon at a minimum, with absolutely no Hermès products available on the platform. Hermès keeps its distribution tight, only selling through its own channels, and it has also been known to take legal action against unwanted sellers and counterfeits (see story).
Hermès reported an 8.1 percent increase in first half net profits, attributing the increased profits to stronger sales in the United States and Japan (see story).
Like Louis Vuitton, Hermès is facing a women’s wear creative transition. Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski will step in to fill the role that was previously held by Christophe Lemaire. The new director, whose first collection will show in March 2015, will likely bring innovative ideas and looks to the brand (see story).
Second runner’s-up: Dior
Similarly to the aforementioned brands, Dior successfully kept itself on consumer’s minds through digital and print, but also differentiated itself and shared its heritage through a series of exhibits and global events.
“Le Petit Théâtre Dior,” a traveling exhibit which recreates couture garments in miniature form, opened at its first stop, the label’s Chengdu, China flagship store (see story). Dior also delved into its photogenic history with an exhibit and tome focused on the iconic images that shaped the label (see story).
Dior also expanded on its traditional presentation schedule with the introduction of the Esprit Dior collection, which showed for the first time Dec. 11 in Tokyo, where the house currently has a retrospective exhibit of the same name (see story).
Dior publishes to its online magazine DiorMag almost daily, with brand news, campaign efforts and archival images, to bring consumers into the inner workings of the house.
The brand frequently uses this space, and its Backstage Makeup Mag, to share information about new cosmetics. Dior let enthusiasts become backstage pros by visiting its Backstage Makeup School to explore new products through content and tutorials (see story).
This year, Dior extended its social video reach by hosting its films on a branded site, DiorTV (see story).
One of these social videos is the brand’s J’adore “The Future is Gold” film, picks up where the previous campaign left off. This video features Charlize Theron in Versailles ascending on a silk rope up to the top of a dome with an opening in the center (see story).
Dior J’adore film
Dior also used rare digital interactivity in one of its fragrance campaigns that likely got it noticed. The brand expanded its wonDiorland initiative’s digital touchpoints with exclusive mobile content that enhances the desktop experience.
By entering a device-specific four-digit code found on Dior’s mobile site for wonDiorland, the consumer could discover additional content developed from the brand’s latest fragrance, Dior Addict (see story).
In 2014, Dior allowed consumers to see the inner workings of its atelier with a documentary premiering during New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.
“Dior and I” covers the beginning of creative director Raf Simons’ tenure at the house. Opening the doors to its atelier will allow the brand to showcase both its past and its present, which will appeal to brand loyalists
By Sarah Jones